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Publisher's Summary

In her midforties and settled into the responsibilities and routines of adulthood, Dani Shapiro found herself with more questions than answers. Was this all life was - a hodgepodge of errands, dinner dates, e-mails, meetings, to-do lists? What did it all mean?

Having grown up in a deeply religious and traditional family, Shapiro had no personal sense of faith, despite repeated attempts to create a connection to something greater. Feeling as if she was plunging headlong into what Carl Jung termed "the afternoon of life," she wrestled with self-doubt and a searing disquietude that would awaken her in the middle of the night. Set adrift by loss - her father's early death; the life-threatening illness of her infant son; her troubled relationship with her mother - she had become edgy and uncertain. At the heart of this anxiety, she realized, was a challenge: What did she believe? Spurred on by the big questions her young son began to raise, Shapiro embarked upon a surprisingly joyful quest to find meaning in a constantly changing world. The result is Devotion: a literary excavation to the core of a life.

In this spiritual detective story, Shapiro explores the varieties of experience she has pursued - from the rituals of her black hat Orthodox Jewish relatives to yoga shalas and meditation retreats. A reckoning of the choices she has made and the knowledge she has gained, Devotion is the story of a woman whose search for meaning ultimately leads her home. Her journey is at once poignant and funny, intensely personal - and completely universal.

©2010 Dani Shapiro (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Universality in Discerning a Faith for Oneself

I liked that Dani shared a lot about her experiences and tied it all in to the theme of her work. One might think on first glance this work might be some new age/wishy washy story, but Ms Shapiro is really a down to earth realist in this book who shares how she found a way that made sense to her for how to be a good person and be good to others for a reason. I am not Jewish or Buddhist or Atheist or Agnostic, which are all addressed in Devotion, but I still got a lot out of it, and I am thankful she read it to me too so I had time to take it in - great voice for rhythmic words!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Superb

Piercing truthfulness. One of those books that I had to pull over on the side of the road 12 times to record ideas. Artful, deep, authentic.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Tremendous

Wow . . . I don't know how I stumbled onto this but sure glad I did. The author's POV and experiences resonated with me. This is not "easy" content . . . it is contemplative and honest and it hit home deep within me. Thank you, Dani.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not for me

It felt like endless whining about why she wasn't happy, how she couldn't find what she needed spiritually. I guess I'm old and jaded. You can have a happy life without finding the perfect spiritual path. It's OK to not have all the answers. Get over yourself and go out and take care of others and make yourself useful in the world.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Slow start but worth the time

This took me a bit of time to get into - almost felt like down shifting gears. I’m glad I stayed with it. I love the way she took the time to exam everything and I found new ways of seeing my life and where devotion already lives. Thank you for this beautiful work!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Confusion and Denial

The book begins with a confused, fearful writer in denial, takes an inauthentic through her life, and delivers confusion and fear. But she does point the reader to Sylvia Boorstein who is the Real Deal.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Overall interesting

It is well written and she shares her story well. I was just hoping for more and how she found more of her spiritual walk. Not sure that she is any closer to understanding and I certainly am not. I was looking for some insight and didn't glean that from this book. I heard her interview on Oprah's podcast and expected more from this book. More my error for she does just say it is a memoir. She narrates well, easy to listen to, just personally wanted more so it would help me on my spiritual journey

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Meh

Like one other reader stated, this was more about the author's examination of her Jewishness than anything else. I didn't find anything redeeming, however, for readers outside her circle of friends and family. She did have a nice voice. 2.5 stars due to boring material and irrelevance. This book was basically wasted time and disappointing.

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Save yourself while you still can.

How on earth did this get published?
Glum but well-off middle-aged mom frets that she's not a good Jew and is basically a total drag. Seriously. Zero humor, nil insight. Kind of like listening to the longest most boring self-absorbed therapy session ever.
Oy, indeed.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Eh

Some great nuggets but overall I found the story to come across as somewhat pessimistic... Just not what I was looking for.